Gombe Governor vows to go ahead with Ruga scheme

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Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State has expressed reservation over the suspension of the Ruga settlement scheme by the Federal Government, saying the state will go ahead with the scheme.

The Governor stated this after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday, NAN reports.

`Ruga Settlement’ is a rural settlement in which animal farmers/herders stay in an designated place provided with basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, road networks, vet clinics, markets among others.

However, the initiative has elicited nationwide controversy.

Buhari had on Wednesday suspended the `Ruga Settlement’ Programme initiated by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in preference for the National Economic Council (NEC)’s National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).

Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi announced the President’s position after a meeting of the NEC Committee of Farmers/Herders Crisis Chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Umahi said that the NLTP would be all inclusive, adding that it was for states that were willing to key into the programme.

However, Yahaya, who spoke in Hausa language, said: “President Buhari’s intention on the Ruga settlement scheme is laudable and the people of Gombe, who are predominantly Fulanis will definitely key into it.

“As I speak to you now, Gombe state government has set aside over 200,000 hectares of land for the implementation of the Ruga Settlement scheme in the state.

“So, because some states rejected the scheme doesn’t mean that Gombe state will not go ahead to implement it.

“Up till now, I don’t want to believe that the pilot scheme has been suspended. We are going to continue with it, because to us it’s a very good initiative in view of the hardship our people (herdmen) are now facing.

“We need to find a lasting solution to their predicaments so as to save their lives because they are Nigerians too.

“So, I don’t want to believe that the president has suspended the scheme – this is worrisome and may be inimical to our people,’’ he said.

The governor reiterated the determination of the state government to partner with the Buhari administration for speedy transformation of the state.

On Dadin Kowa Dam project, the governor revealed the water scheme had been resuscitated, saying that 40 million litres of water was being pumped daily for domestic consumption in Gombe and its environs.